Reading Vatican Docs in PDF on EReader, Immoral?


In light of the problems some Catholic bloggers have had with transferring Lumen Fidei into various formats for E-Readers and I-Pad, I’m wondering about the morality of reading Vatican docs in PDF. Specifically, can we morally transfer a document, posted online for free, into a PDF format to be read on an E-Reader? I’m thinking the issue of violating copyrights arises when someone attempts to mass distribute a document, but can we morally do so just for private consumption? I’ve been thinking of using this approach to read the Church Fathers on New Advent and various important Papal and V2 docs from, but I don’t want to do anything immoral. Thanks in advance :thumbsup:


Why would it be immoral?

Anyway, Rome Reports has already converted Lumen Fidei to PDF, and offers it here:

http ://

I broke the link because I don’t want to steal bandwidth. To fix it, paste it in your browser and remove the space after http.


It would only be inmoral if you tried to make money of the redistribution of copyrighted material.
If the material “Copyrighted or not” is given freely to you and you convert it so that it may be easier to read BY YOU as long as you are the end user it is within the rights “fair use” granted to you. Unless in the original document it is explicitly stated that you may NOT convert to another format for your own personal use.

Typically copyright legalese applies that you may not convert to other formats to “distribute” the material which would be illegal even in the original format :rolleyes:


The work of the church is free.

It may be copyrighted, but only to those who wrote it (The Holy Spirit? :stuck_out_tongue: ). It would not be immoral. It’s ridiculous that the Vatican are trying to restrict the spread of the Church’s Teaching and the Word of God. I’m sure if Pope Francis knew about this, he’d think differently.

As long as you do not sell off the material, you should be fine I guess :slight_smile:

God be with you,
Deus, Salus Nostra :gopray2:


The fact that it is offered in .pdf format for free download ought to be a clue.


Only Lumen Fidei is available in PDF on, all other encyclicals are not.


Thanks :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :smiley:


I converted Lumen Fidei into Kindle format. I can’t see why the Church would object to that.

God bless +



Could you just ask the publication office from whence the documents were distributed? Such a question may even lead to a statement on the Web page clarifying the issue for others.


I stand corrected. (Actually, I’m sitting down, but you get the picture :stuck_out_tongue: )

On the other hand, surely the techno-geeks in the Vatican are aware that the .html format of documents like Deus caritas est can also be downloaded into computer memory for later reading off-line.


If you are converting a freely-obtained HTML file to PDF format for your own personal use then it is probably legal. Most countries have laws (such as “fair use” in America) that allow you to do stuff like that.

However, distributing it (without permission) would be illegal. And if it’s illegal then it’s also immoral since you’d be breaking a non-unjust law.


I figured that was the case, but I wanted to make sure. I guess I was having a bit of scrupulosity the other day. But better to be scrupulous than unscrupulous, right? :wink:


This is my understanding as well.

closed #14

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